"Culture was as big as Bob Marley in Africa" - Marcia Griffiths


By: Claude Mills

Marcia_Griffiths_reggae_singer_Jamaica.jpgFort Lauderdale, Florida: Reggae songstress Marcia Griffiths is miffed at how Jamaicans dealt with the death of Joseph 'Culture' Hill.

"Joseph Hill is a king in Ghana and I was not pleased how he was treated by the Jamaican community as an icon. At the recent Irie Jamboree, I told the audience that I didn't think that they knew how big this man was...but a king is never known in his own country. He was as big as Marley as in Africa," she told YardFlex.com during an interview at her home in Florida earlier this week.

"He is big in Brazil as well. He stopped the conflict in Sierra Leone because he refused to come there while the war was going on. As the show done, the man dem resume the war," she said, laughing. "As him fly out, the war start back but it shows the respect and love they had for Culture...he got them to lay down their arms, if only for a time," she said. Griffiths, arguably Jamaica's biggest female vocalist ever, is known for the massive international hit with "Electric Boogie" in the '80s, and the 1970's roots-reggae 'Stepping out of Babylon',

She believes that it was Culture's unique vocal stylings and roots reggae influences that so endeared him to residents of the African continent.

"I believe it was his natural African sound that they loved in Ghana and Sierra Leone, they could relate to it, he had that natural African sound that they just loved it. It's really a shame that he was not recognized more, it was almost as if he were just another artiste."

What would you have liked to see?

"I cannot say what they should do, maybe a Culture Day or something, but Jamaicans didn't know what they have. He was known all over, I shared the stage with him many times, I did a duet with him, 'Where is the Love?' which is getting good airplay in Miami, and I just hope one day that he will get the recognition he deserves from the reggae industry and Jamaica ."

Griffiths began her music career as a teenager in Coxsone's Studio One, racking up hit after hit, before hooking up with her lover at the time, Bob Andy to form Bob & Marcia for the Top Five U.K. pop hit "Young, Gifted and Black." She played an instrumental role in the formation of The I Threes to back Bob Marley's international tours and recordings from 1974-1980 before moving on to score her huge 'Electric Boogie' hit.